Ira Gostin is Moving the Needle Through Stakeholder Engagement
Imagine a boutique that sells high-end women’s clothing on one end of the store and high-end men’s clothing on the other. As a marketer, you wouldn’t send the same message to both those groups because they have different needs and values and respond to very different trigger points. Instead, you’d craft messaging that resonates with each group individually. This, in a nutshell, is the concept behind stakeholder engagement.
As Ira explains it, stakeholder engagement is about more than reaching customers. Instead, his process identifies critical stakeholders throughout the business and then crafts strategic messaging that reaches each group on their terms. For example, Ira’s firm does a lot of work in the industrial space, including oil, gas and precious metals. For those companies, relevant stakeholders could include customers, shareholders, potential shareholders, fund managers and the analysts who write about it. All of these people play an essential role in a company’s success. However, Ira’s outreach will look and sound different for each group.
How Do You Move the Needle?
For Ira, however, merely reaching these stakeholder groups isn’t enough. He wants his messaging to move the needle. To do that, Ira works with his clients to identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will allow him to connect his communication strategy with real-world results.
This led to a conversation about access within an organization. Amy noted how marketing managers (who might typically drive the engagement with a third-party marketing or PR consultant) aren’t always plugged into top-level financial KPIs. As a result, it’s more difficult to judge what efforts are genuinely effective. Ira agreed and said that higher-level access is a critical component in creating meaningful metrics.
Ira only works with the C-suite now, because those executives have access to the financials that matter most. With that information in hand, Ira can build strategies and metrics that resonate with senior leadership. That leads to happier, long-term clients.
Can Press Coverage Move the Needle?
Of course, because this is a PR podcast, Amy wanted to know whether press coverage can be a useful tool to move the needle. Ira said that the quality and quantity of press coverage will always be an indicator. However, it’s never the first one. Instead, he focuses on measuring revenue or contact growth, because that means people are seeing the story and taking action in response.
Your Employees are Stakeholders. Don’t Forget Them.
Ira and Amy ended their conversation by talking about employee communication, which has become increasingly critical in the COVID-19/work from home era. Ira pointed out that employees are crucial stakeholders that too many leaders ignore. In times of uncertainty, it’s vital to check in with your employees and create safe spaces where they discuss how the world is impacting their work. The key here is to be warm and authentic in your approach to get past any awkwardness. It’s also okay to admit you don’t have all the answers because few of us do these days.
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Listen to the entire episode to hear more from Ira, including his favorite 1+1=3 approach to boosting outreach results. You can also connect with Ira over social media or through his website at iragostin.com. Also, be sure to subscribe to the PR Talk podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, iHeart Radio and Spotify for more fascinating conversations with industry-leading PR and marketing professionals.
About the guest: Ira Gostin
For more than 30 years, Ira Gostin has guided companies in growth and corporate storytelling. His marketing and public relations consultancy, Gostin Strategic, focuses on stakeholder engagement in the form of investor relations, public relations, marketing strategy and brand development.
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